happy birthday ejer

Some people walk into your lives and end up being forever friends.  I love that I never know when it’s gonna happen or how it will play out…but I have been blessed with a few friends like this.  Ones with whom I’ve logged many many many hours face to face and now even tho a thousand miles stand between us, we still manage to keep up with each other.

There is this one girl in particular who lives in the midwest (still!) and asks the best questions…always remembers details and dates…and tells me she’s proud of me often.  I like her a lot.  I like the way she’s not perfect and not afraid to show all of her.  I like the way she’s unoffendable and always thinks about others first.  I love the way she raises her sweet kiddos and cares for her awesome husband.

Lately she’s made me cry more than any other human…bc she’s going through a little rough patch and I like to think we’re connected in deep ways.  When she cries, I cry.  This girl is a tough one, people.  Seriously one of the strongest people I’ve ever met.  But she’s tender- it’s the best combination.  I marvel at the way she says yes to Jesus every single day, no matter how hard life gets.  She shows me who God is, just by being herself.

There aren’t a lot of people on this planet that know me really well.  I suppose that’s my fault, or perhaps its how I like it.  But this birthday girl- she knows me. And I’m so, so, so glad.  Happy Birthday Eliza Joy.

Let’s meet in Traverse City, k?

ever my “little” sister

It happened tonight.

Josiah looked at his little brother’s drink and complained there were “little pieces” floating in it.  He refused to take a sip.  I almost died laughing.  It has begun.

For as long as I’ve remembered, I’ve said the same thing about my little sister.  Probably just one time she backwashed into my drink when we were young and for a very long time, as in, far into my 20s I still held to the truth that she totally left behind particles.  For the record I know she didn’t.  She doesn’t.  She’s 29 now, but ever still my baby sister.  Seven years doesn’t feel like quite the chasm it used to and I love her dearly.  But I still tease her about it.

I didn’t let her drive my car until she was in college and the only reason I finally caved was because I cracked my tailbone while we were snowboarding and literally couldn’t sit.  I closed my eyes most of the ride down the mountain.  Nowadays she is my airport taxi on the west coast and I’m so grateful she doesn’t hold my issues of trust against me.  I still wince when she drives, but I do the same thing with Bart so I think that says more about me than them.

Little sister, I miss you.

I’m glad my boys are gonna remind me of us sometimes.

If you were here right now, I’d let you take my drink no matter what.

harder than i thought

today wasn’t a good day.  i did not anticipate having a very hard time leaving regan in his pre-k classroom this morning.  after all, i knew the teacher already and he had done great at orientation yesterday.  but my oh my…he is definitely my baby.  technically i know this isn’t true- it’s not like i forget maya exists- but she is so independent that i do forget she’s not even two yet.  regan on the other hand, holds a force over me that i can’t explain.  and i could only hold the tears back until the parking lot and then game over.  i am even tearing up right now- what the heck?

see- i’m the kind of mom who loves her children fiercely but i’m not afraid to admit i love time away from them too.  i don’t like to work up some sort of fake sadness over my kid going to school…in fact last year with josiah starting pre-k i don’t think i shed one tear.  i knew he would love it and he jumped right in…rarely even looking back to see me go.  it was so exciting for both of us.  i don’t ever think it’s a bad thing to be happy as your child walks into a new adventure… but today wasn’t one of those times for me i guess.

regan going to school…a whole different ball game.  it was like i left part of my heart in that room- and instead of being sure that he’d be fine- i had no idea.  of course, i knew they’d take care of him…but he’s such a feeler and so strong-willed i just wasn’t sure what would happen.  but mostly, i was sad. so so so sad.  i missed him like crazy and he was only gone 4 hours.  walking in to pick him up, i caught his eye from way across the classroom and he screamed my name, burst into tears and practically mowed over everyone between us until he was in my arms.  it was all i could do not to crumble right there.  but. it was public. i was holding maya. and what the heck- i’d already done this once.  i didn’t expect it to feel so different.  i love all my children with all my heart…but i feel like this was a window into the future…reminding me that i continually need to view my children as individuals.

they are each going to walk through life so vastly different.  it was a good lesson for me… a good reminder that i’m never gonna be able to predict their paths (or mine for that matter!) and that is ok.

but for now i’m just gonna keep crying.  i’m not crazy.  and i’m no super mom.  but just figured i should be real.  oh, and he had two accidents and a few sad i-want-mommy moments but otherwise declared that he loved school and his teacher.  we’ll see what happens next week.

pray for him but mostly for me.



Just another random post because I can’t keep my thoughts coherent for something deeper.  Currently I am…

listening to the new United Pursuit cd- Simple Gospel.  So good. So refreshing.

looking at my dwindling to-do list for school which is approaching in TWO days. Eek.  I still have to figure out a system for Josiah’s school clothes and for school lunch food that I don’t want eaten for the every day.  I dreaded making his lunch twice a week last year, so trying to simplify a little this year…or at least set myself up for a little more success.  Pizza hot lunch on fridays for Jos is part of my reward for packing lunch all week.

missing my sister.  December is too far away pook.  But excited to see my parents in less than a month!!!

loving my daughter’s new language skills.  Omygosh girl voices are SO CUTE.  The best part is her obsession with an ocean book (surprised?) and how she says Orca, Nemo, Sharky so well.  I have a feeling conversations are just around the corner.  Can’t. Wait.

feeling nostalgia as I read teacher’s posts about preparing for school…there are many moments I miss that job.  It was always so fresh and new each year- full of possibility and sharpened pencils!

excited for fall beach days- probably with just Maya mostly.  My plan is to drop the boys off for school…stop at the Starbucks drive-thru and make the trek to Spring Lake as often as I can.  Anyone wanna join?

thanking Macy’s for ending my search for a big blingy necklace for our big black tie dinner in Vienna.  It was getting exhausting…but I know I shouldn’t complain about that either.  I found a fun unique one that I love!

contemplating what song I want to wake up to since I’ll be setting my alarm for the rest of my life.  I need something upbeat enough but not too loud…something to get my heart right from the moment my eyes open.  Tall order I know.  Right now it’s between You Make Me Brave and I Will Follow You.

itching to decorate our new basement.  It’s all renovated and a blank canvas for me!  I am lazily waiting for my husband to move boxes downstairs before I really dig in.  But he put together like 12 ikea pieces of furniture in record time, so there’s no room for me to complain.

reading the new Vanessa Diffenbaugh novel: We Never Asked For Wings.  SO GOOD.  She wrote my all-time fav The Language of Flowers.  If you haven’t read them…go now.  Must reads.  Another cute story I just finished is The War that Saved My Life.

searching for fresh perspective.  I want to go into this new season with energy and run with my desire for newness.  I want to get it done (i.e.: quiet times, housework, cooking, quality time with my husband and children and friends, etc…) and embrace the change.  I am anxious to see how it will all look.

holding back on decorating for the Fall.  It’s my favorite season to bring into my home…besides Christmas of course.  It just instantly makes everything cozy.

regan ocean turns 4

Quirky.  This word has always been my favorite word to describe my adorable little geegs.  Regan has so many quirks I could never begin to tell you them all…but for remembering sake, I will list a few.  He loves to rip any paper up into a million pieces and always chooses one to play with- deeming it a shark or a whale.  He becomes animals- just straight up declares he’s a dog (used to be bear every time but he’s branched out) and then proceeds to act just like said animal.  He always pulls up his sweats to make them shorts and wears his daddy’s shoes constantly claiming he’s Goofy, not to mention his one sock obsession that is often accompanied by rain boots.

Sweet.  My Regan is so incredibly sweet.  He always gives kisses and will always “snugger” (snuggle).  He looks after his little sister with a strong and brave heart- protecting her, sometimes a little more than necessary, but out of love.  He loves to make her laugh and loves to get her to repeat him.  Reegs will give you a wink and a thumbs up at any moment of any day and he is starting to pray a lot…with such a sweet tender heart, always wanting to care for another.  He is my only kid who consistently tells me he loves me without a prompt.  I love how he greets his favorites with a big loud ‘miss you’ when they arrive.

Shy.  For the ones who know Regan the best, he is rarely shy.  Though he definitely gives that cute little look of sort-of embarrassment/shy/sly grin when you give him too much attention/kisses/hugs/whatever.  But to the outside world, he still beats to his own drum and takes his time getting comfortable.  I love to watch him choose who he interacts with.  When his older brother Josiah is around, he automatically feels safer and ventures around more freely, but on his own he is quite cautious and quiet (two words that don’t describe him at all in his natural habitat).

Loud.  When Regan was younger his nickname was Loud Mouth Bass.  Seriously his pipes are out of this world high-pitched and loud.  But the best part about this is that he loves to sing and will sing just about anything.   We always giggle in the car when he starts to belt it out…and when we want to yell hi to someone from the car he is our go-to…seriously it’s like there is a loud speaker attached to this chest or something.  In the morning, his voice is often the first thing we hear throughout the entire house.

Loyal.  My middle child is fiercely loyal.  He always wants his brother- who he calls Juice- around.  He is the first to hear when his sister wakes up lets us know.  Every single morning when we each come down the stairs he announces that we are here- just in case someone doesn’t notice. He knows how to make us feel special, just by being him.  When Josiah came home from school last year, Regan would ask him every time- “How’s school man?”.  It was adorable.

Strong.  Perhaps stubborn might be a different word to describe my little man, but I figure it portrays itself in strength and I like strong better.  Regan wields a lot of power.  It’s a tricky road to walk- not wanting to crush but also wanting to guide and mold.  Even in the simplest of things- like food- it’s a battle for him to take one bite but after that one tiny taste he will usually scarf the rest of the plate… steak, salad, burritos, whatever.  He defies bedtime like a colicky baby but once he lays his head to the pillow he is almost always out like a light.  He will only swim in the pool when he decides and often needs a strong arm of guidance in places like airports and stores, ha!

My little geegs… I was gonna add that he’s a directional genius but it didn’t fit within my other chosen traits.  The kid remembers roads and landmarks like you wouldn’t believe.  I can’t drive near a Starbucks without him asking for a cake pop (and we could be a mile away from it) and he knows where all our ice cream joints are.  That’s gonna be so helpful for our family in the future.  Both bart and I kinda struggle in that field of smartness.  But anyway, I just love this little boy so much.  He cracks us up more than anyone else…and as I was pulling photos for this post, I seriously couldn’t stop laughing.  He’s so weird.  It’s the best!

Happy Birthday my favorite Regan Ocean… you are four today.  It marks four years full of joy and jaw-dropping amazement that we get to be your family.

Love, mommy (yelled super loud of course)


the squishy eyes and kissy face. always


ode to his obsession with bears and being one. in my hometown of port angeles, WA


when he was happy the apple orchard…


and when he was sad…


our favorite face when we scare him (jokingly). the kid is so expressive


that would be ranch dressing…all.over.the.couch.and.him. Happy thanksgiving!


group pictures always end like this for him… i am picturing his first birthday group shot exactly like this- one day I should do a post with all his sad photo shoot faces.


seriously he cracks me up in group shots.


such a good big brother to his sister. ps. he’s naked and potty training in this pic…hehe


hey kids- act natural like you’re having fun building a sand castle. hm. regan?


whimsical regan on the oregon coast.


oh how he loves his brother


can’t get enough of his faces.


probably the best one- although you can’t really tell- he always throws a thumbs up with a wink on the side. anytime, all the time.

wake up and…

Sometimes it amazes me how often I think thoughts or even worse, vocalize thoughts of ungratefulness.  I mean, come on.  God has given me such abundant life.  Why do I continually decide that it’s not enough?

I am in goal making season, which for some might sound weird but I think it’s the engrained school year in me…I like to evaluate life as I step into each Fall.  Of course, I have high hopes- with possibly a little more time on my hands I plan to get back into cooking more and cleaning more and working out regularly.  I want to spend time alone with Jesus more consistently and create art more often.

But today I realized what I must really set my mind to.  Thankfulness.  I can’t stop naming all the reasons I can be grateful…and that should never end.  My number one goal in this new season is to wake up each morning and name ten things I am thankful for…every single day.  Each time I think like this, I’m left with a big fat WHOA- who. am. I. to. be. blessed. like. this?!?!  And I just don’t want to lose sight of that reality- the wow factor of God’s goodness in my life.

In about two weeks the whole waking up part is gonna get a bit harder.  Josiah is starting kindergarten and 7am will be a permanent alarm clock set on my phone.  But I hope that this focus towards gratefulness will snap me into a smile, along with a nice cup of coffee I imagine.  To begin each day in awe of my Creator and favorite Friend…I don’t see how it could hurt.

What are you thankful for?

a free european vacation- for reals?

AmaWaterways-Promotions-Pictures-Romantic-DanubepsIn approximately 7 weeks my husband and I will be embarking on an all expense paid European vacation courtesy of my hard-working husband and the amazing company he works for.  We will be flying first class to Munich, Germany and then traveling to the port of Vilshofen to board a Danube river cruise for 8 days.  The boat will stop in Passau, Linz, Melk, Krems, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest.  (so, a little Germany, a lot of Austria, a little Slovakia and Hungary)  So far I know there will be a lot of walking/biking tours offered, wine tastings, concerts, fancy dinners and some good free time for exploring.

Phew.  Crazy right?  It shocked us back in January when we found out Bart had won the trip…but I honestly didn’t think it would actually happen until my parents told us they would love to come watch our kiddos!  Insane!!  So, my parents are flying out from Seattle to spend more than a week with our three crazies while Bart and I enjoy a real live kid-less free fancy vacation.  It’s what dreams are made of people.  Ha!

Let me just say, flying on a plane without a kid even sounds heavenly- but when we were told we were traveling in first class it was like angels sang.  I have only ridden up in that forbidden area one time and it was for a 2 hour flight to Florida.  So, needless to say, even those first 8 hours are gonna rock my world.  We can actually lay down in our seats?!  Can you tell I don’t really believe it’s happening?  Surreal.

People have asked me what I’m most excited about… I get to spend a week with my best friend on an awesome,unique, fun adventure PLUS I have no responsibilities whatsoever.  Sleeping until whenever I want…eating my meals without serving others first…only being in charge of dressing myself… yes truly…these are the things I’m looking forward to.

The pure simplicity of my packing list is dreamy.  I’m only packing for me.  What?  I can’t remember the last time that happened.  I don’t have to drag around a carry-on the size of my very large dog.  I do however have to find black-tie optional attire…which will be interesting since I can’t remember the last time I wore a dress…or heels.  But I keep reminding myself that I’ll be in a foreign country on vacation so WHO CARES?!?

So- the point of this post is to ask for suggestions!  From the places I mentioned- have you been there and what was your favorite things to see, do, eat?!  I’m not really a fan of super touristy stuff…but if there are can’t misses… please do tell!  I’m really hoping to find local markets and cool little cafes and streets filled with antiques (ha!).  A girl can dream…